Blake Atwood is one of three editors of a relatively new online venture called FaithVillage, which serves as a social network for faith experiences. Blake is a kindred spirit in the world of creatives / digerati / whatever you call us in ministry. In describing what we do, Blake said to me, “The intersection of words, faith and technology is right where I want to be.” Not a bad summary of church communication.
This is the second interview of my series on church communication / creatives. I asked Blake the same set of questions as I did Stephen Proctor in my first interview. As I said in that post, “The purpose of these chats, each with someone who is making a livelihood out of full time creative ministry, is to look for common stories and out of them perhaps discover some ways that we can better equip the church for the critical ministry of creative communication.”
What motivates your interest in technology and ministry?
My interest in technology and ministry may be genetic. My grandfather was a deacon in the church I grew up in and loved to buy the newest technology of his day, like a $2,000 calculator the size of your head. If he were still around today, I’m sure the both of us would watch every WWDC event together.
That’s awesome. After I’d been doing this for a while, I came across similar family stories. It hints at the biblical idea that God names us.
In the bigger picture, technology is a world-changer that will only become more pervasive and powerful as time goes on. It can be used for ill or for good. I’d like to think that what we do at FaithVillage salts the earth. We have access to the most powerful communications medium ever designed. We should use it to convey the most powerful message ever delivered.
So is your connection to technology related to developing skills and tools, or is there a deeper connection for you? Do you see what you do as a calling?
I see my current job as a calling, but it hasn’t always been that way. Ironically enough, when I worked at a church as their Director of Media and Communications, I didn’t believe I was “called” to that particular profession. Through a fortuitous series of events, I fell into the job. I learned a wide array of skills there and worked with some great people, but there was always a subtle tug reminding me that there was something else I was supposed to be doing. It felt strange to admit it was true: I was directly working for the Lord, so to speak. How could I doubt where He had placed me?
As a child of the church, I always thought “calling” equated to ministerial service. As I grew older, I realized that we all have a specific calling, but it may take us years or even decades to realize what it is. But, once we can succinctly describe that calling, it can be placed over every facet of our lives. I’m still working on mine, but I know it involves writing and technology.
I like the idea that a calling isn’t tied to a place or time. I have come to realize that to pursue a calling means that we can make some decisions in our lives that don’t make a lot of sense to outside observers.
Little did I know then that a calling isn’t a job, it’s a journey. It’s that still small voice asking you to follow him onward and upward, trusting that the trials of the path behind you were purposefully preparing you for the road ahead. Eventually, you may reach the place where your passions collide with your skills. It’s that proverbial Edenic garden where work is no longer work because you love what you’re doing. I think pastors would agree: They love what they do so much that they’re willing to put up with an immense amount of difficulty.
In the course of my journey, at each stop along the way, I can see how God has prepared me. It’s the intersection of our own goals and God’s work forming in us. As you move forward, what are some big picture goals you have for your career?
As far as current goals, I’d like to see FaithVillage become a well-known, oft-visited destination for connected Christians. It’s already a great place for collaboration, discussion, publication, and discovery, and we only recently launched. In terms of the big picture, I have one large goal in mind: to write a book or two or ten. Otherwise, I try to wait for God’s prodding to show me what’s next, if anything. I have honestly never been as content in a job, a calling, and a life as I currently am.
I encourage you to visit FaithVillage and get to know Blake. Look out for the next in this series, coming soon.